Port Vale have been told the EFL hopes to finish the football season this summer, but if that is possible, games would probably be behind closed doors.
The league has this week written to all its clubs with advice and plans after the season was suspended on March 13.
Clubs are being advised to ask players to take their annual time off now because, if football can resume later in the summer, there wouldn’t be time for them to have their usual break between the end of the current campaign and the start of the 2020/21 season.
The EFL hopes to be playing games behind closed doors in June, and would then aim to finish the season in 56 days.
In the meantime they have advised clubs not to start training with players until May 16 at the earliest.
However, the league makes clear that the plans and potential dates for training and games will all depend on government advice at the time as the nation deals with the coronavirus crisis.
The letter has been written by the league’s chairman Rick Parry, following an EFL meeting on Wednesday, and widely reported in the national media.
Parry says the league want to finish the current season rather than going straight to the next one.
In the letter, he says: “As confirmed last Friday (April 3), EFL matches are currently postponed indefinitely and the EFL Board today determined that, to provide a level of certainty, clubs should be advised not to recommence any training activity with players until 16 May at the earliest.
“Whenever the decision is taken that it is safe to resume, we currently estimate that the league will require approximately 56 days to complete the outstanding matches in the season (including Play-Offs) and we are committed to ensuring that clubs are provided an appropriate notice period to ensure you are able to prepare operationally given the scale and the impact of the postponements in place.
“How and when we return (including training) is clearly subject to change and any decisions will be taken in conjunction with the government and relevant health authorities.
“Clearly, we are in a position whereby the 2019/20 campaign will be extended, but still remain hopeful of a conclusion in the summer months.”
Parry goes on to say: “It is our working assumption at this stage that matches will be played behind closed doors when we eventually return and, as part of our contingency planning, we are absolutely mindful of the need to try to mitigate the cost of this to clubs as best we can.”
The EFL have also revealed they are not taking up – for now – the offer of early payments from the Premier League.
The top flight announced last week that £125m in funds would be made available to the EFL and National League.
But Vale chief executive Colin Garlick explained that such solidarity payments are usually received in August and January. So, although receiving them early would solve cashflow problems for some clubs, it would also create issues for next season. In Port Vale’s case they would receive two lots of £225,000 during a season.
The EFL say that offer isn’t being taken up until there have been further talks about finances and particularly player wages.